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Thursday, June 16, 2005

 

Uzbekistan: Human rights delegation arrested

From Reuters AlertNet:

Human Rights Watch is concerned for the safety of a four-person delegation from the International Helsinki Federation visiting Andijan, whom Uzbek police forced to leave the province on June 15. The incident is the latest in a crackdown against the human rights community since the May 13 massacre. The four were in Andijan province to document the post May 13 crackdown, and had been visiting the home of a human rights defender currently detained on charges related to the Andijan events. After they finished the visit-in a village near Andijan-at about 10:00 p.m., police stopped their car and said they wanted to determine whether the delegation's driver had been involved in a car accident that had allegedly occurred earlier that day. Police took the driver's identification papers, brought the group to a local police station, and then ordered the driver to drive to the alleged site of the accident at an unknown location.

The driver has said that he was not involved in any accident. When last heard from, at 2 a.m. Tashkent time on June 16, the delegation was on its way back to Tashkent, as police had made it clear that it had no other choice than to return toward the capital.

The four human rights defenders, who were on a mission for the Vienna-based International Helsinki Federation, are Tolib Yakubov (an Uzbek citizen), Eliza Murzaeva (a Russian citizen), Eldar Zeynalov (an Azerbaijani citizen), and Dmitri Markushevski (a Belarusian citizen). Yakubov is also the chair of the Human Rights Society of Uzbekistan. The driver is Abdurzai Dezhuraev.

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